18 October 2021

Build understanding of key concepts and terms

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Build knowledge of sex, gender, and sexuality diversity’

Listen to young people's perspectives

Listen to young people's perspectives

Young people introduce key concepts about sex, gender, and sexuality and what makes each of these things unique.

Know the difference between sex, gender and sexuality

Know the difference between sex, gender and sexuality

Note, these concepts differ across cultures and languages. Indigenous terms may involve a more holistic understanding of these aspects of identity.

There are important differences between sex, gender, and sexuality.


  • refers to particular characteristics of bodies, including reproductive organs, genitalia, hormones, and chromosomes
  • is often seen as a binary: male or female
  • there is however considerable physical variation within these physical characteristics, and
  • the term intersex describes those who do not fit this traditional binary.


  • gender identity refers to how you identify your gender internally, regardless of the sex of your body 
  • gender expression refers to how you express your gender – masculine, feminine, both, neither, or in between.


  • refers to who you are attracted to.
  • you may be attracted to people of the the same and/or differing sex or gender
  • you also may not be sexually attracted to anyone.


Source: Dr John Fenaughty (opens in a new tab/window)

Understand why pronouns matter

Understand why pronouns matter

Students talk about what pronouns are, why they matter, and how to use new ones.

Know how to address students

Know how to address students

Respectfully and privately ask students:

  • their preferred name
  • which pronouns they would like you to use (he/him, she/her, they/them)
  • how they would like their names displayed on the class roll or around the learning environment
  • how they would like to be referred to when communicating with their family, as some young people may be out at school but not at home.

Source: Making schools safer for trans and gender diverse youth (opens in a new tab/window)

Explore what transgender means

Explore what transgender means

This video introduces and explores transgender identities.

Useful resources

Useful resources

Screen Shot 2018 10 05 at 11.40.09 AM

Supporting LGBTI young people in New Zealand

Read time: 18 min

Publisher: Ministry of Social Development

Download PDF


More Than Four

Publisher: InsideOUT

Visit website

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Build knowledge of sex, gender, and sexuality diversity”:

Return to the guide “Supporting LGBTIQA+ students”

Guide to Index of the guide: LGBTIQA+ students